It’s a brand new year, which usually means setting yourself some new year’s work goals and resolutions, together with personal development goals to see you through the next 12 months. But in 2021 – for now at least – things are a little different.
The Covid-19 pandemic is still very much with us, and although vaccinations are thankfully on their way, there are still some months of restrictions and lockdowns to go before we’re able to live and work as normal. This “pandemic fatigue” has led to many people feeling exhausted, demotivated, and ultimately, a little defeated, so sticking to those new year’s work goals seems like an impossible task.
Rather than setting long-term resolutions, 2021 calls for some short term targets that are time bound, have actionable steps, and get you just a little outside of your comfort zone. By creating specific measurable targets that are smaller and more manageable, you make it easier to accomplish your goals during a time when your motivation levels and energy are low. So with that in mind, here are 3 work goal ideas that you can actually stick to:
Think before you arrange another video meeting
Video call burnout is real. It takes extra processing power for your brain to handle virtual than face-to-face exchanges, so it’s not uncommon to feel drained after a day of video meetings.
So before you schedule the next video call, spend time to consider if you really need it. Is there a better communication tool for the conversation, such as an email, instant message, or even a phone call? By pausing to think, you can instead reserve video meetings for occasions that really require them, such as for performance reviews, one-to-ones, or team socials. This is a smart goal that will save time and energy, as well as improve your communication skills, as you will be using the right channels for the right conversations.
Be a better listener
Many people claim to be great listeners, but in reality, we’re not as good at listening as we think we are. We’re more likely to be focussed on what to say next or how we appear to the other person rather than really listening to what’s being said.
Being a good listener means being an active listener, which requires you to listen attentively, maintain eye contact, ask questions (but not interrupt), and be patient. These are essential skills that will not only help you become a better team member, but also – when mastered – enhance your emotional intelligence, problem solving abilities, and capacity to empathise. It’s the work goal that keeps on giving!
Organise and protect your time
By the time you’ve emptied your inbox, attended a few video meetings, and answered pressing questions from your coworkers, the day has slipped away and you’re left with very little time to do “real work”. Some days are simply like this and unavoidable, but if it happens regularly, you’re likely to feel unproductive and that you haven’t achieved anything, which does nothing for your motivation levels.
This new year, focus on your time management skills by proactively setting aside time that’s purely reserved for your tasks and project work. Utilise tools such as your intranet calendar to block out time and improve visibility of your availability, so that you can’t be doubled-booked with meetings. You could also consider going offline from your instant messaging or emails for an hour a day, setting a “do not disturb” status so that people are aware you’re zoned into focussed work during that time.
2021 hasn’t started in the way any of us wanted, so you’d be forgiven for not feeling in the mood for creating big plans and aspirational work goals for the year. Nonetheless, goal setting is an important exercise; it gives you a sense of purpose and progress, and boosts your motivation levels. Just by making them a little smaller and more attainable, you can still feel the same level of satisfaction and reward when you achieve your goals.